Review – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

(L-R): Danai Gurira as Okoye and Letitia Wright as Shuri in Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER. Photo by Eli Adé. © 2022 MARVEL.

Ever since it was first announced, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was easily one of the most anticipated movies this year. It’s no surprises why especially considering the massive success the first instalment had and of course the tragic loss of the lead character, Chadwick Bosman. With Bosman being the heartbeat of the franchise, like most individuals, I was more intrigued with how the second instalment would be positioned. Executed to perfection, I can already confirm, right off the bat, that Wakanda Forever is a beautiful movie that properly pays tribute to him in a tasteful manner both at the beginning and various other sequences midway as well as in the end (by the way, stick around for the end credit scene which further reinforces this).

Hosted last night at The Zone in Rosebank, the premiere was one of the biggest I was lucky enough to attend with lots of colour, beautiful humans and culture on show. And that’s probably one of the important things the movie symbolises with inclusion being a massive part. Black Panther is a fantastic and unique character in that sense and brings so many things that are quite rare in other instances to the fore in a beautiful and spectacular way.

There’s no doubt that we need more stories like this… I’m, to be fair, a bit tired of stories involving people of colour being of a ‘slave’ nature, which is not to say those shouldn’t be told but we need a variety and stories that position us in a different light – Wakanda reflecting a more modern and powerful picture underpinned by technology, inclusivity and culture. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever finds Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba) fighting to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.

The movie doesn’t have a lot of action sequences and is instead dominated by a story that builds up with every scene. You could call it a slow burner but that’s actually not a bad thing and it was instead a refreshing change. Director Ryan Coogler clearly positioned it as a heartfelt comic based movie sprinkled with action sequences but ultimately paid homage to a character and individual that played a crucial role in not only the movie but various individuals in different ways. 

A scene from Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

I also touched on inclusivity and this movie has that in abundance. Apart from people of colour dominating, what was even more refreshing was in the form of powerful women dominance onscreen. The movie is literally driven by women who assume powerful roles (quite rare nowadays) which is a classy touch from Marvel. You almost get the sense that when it comes to Black Panther, Marvel treats and handles the franchise in a different and appropriate manner. And, a small spoiler, it looks like there will be another instalment with the aforementioned end credit scene opening up a whole new and exciting chapter (again, best to stick around for that). A special mention also to, like the first movie, the use of one of our native languages (Xhosa) throughout, Lupita Nyong’o especially executing pronunciation in a perfect manner, never did it feel forced… another nice touch Marvel.

There’s so much more to say from a technical point of view but like the main focus of the movie, this write up mostly focuses on the bigger picture and visible connotations / emotions the movie brings up. If you couldn’t tell already, I was very impressed and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a great flick that will be remembered for all the right reasons. Make a date to go see it asap, you won’t regret it.

Massive thank you to the Disney team for the fantastic premiere screening!